Jim Abeler, who won the Republican primary election in Senate District 35 on Tuesday, said his victory from yesterday shows "experience is an asset."

"It was really gratifying for people to recognize that experience is an asset on some of these complex topics," said Abeler. 

Abeler, who served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for seven terms, defeated first-time candidate Andy Aplikowski with over 60 percent of the vote

Aplikowski was endorsed by local Republicans in Senate District 35 in November to replace Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, in the Minnesota Senate. In an interview in November, Aplikowski said officials with the Republican Party of Minnesota and Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus pledged to support him in the primary election. 

Abeler said today he spoke with Keith Downey, who serves as chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota and Minnesota Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, since his victory last evening and described the working relationship going forward as "all good."

"I don't spend any time thinking about the past," said Abeler, who added, "I don't find it productive, and it is part of what people like about me."

Abeler will now face a run against Democrat Roger Johnson in the special election on February 9, 2016. 

If elected to the Minnesota Senate, Abeler said he wants to focus on health care, specifically reforming MNsure. Abeler said "real people are starting to hurt," because of MNsure. 

"No one is is verbalizing what has happened with Minnesota's healthcare system in a really coherent way," added Abeler.

Picture source: Andy Aplikowski for Senate, Minnesota House of Representatives